Click here to subscribe to Jamestown’s free digital publications. Jamestown’s regular coverage of China, Eurasia, Terrorism, and the North Caucasus as well as the e-Newsletter and Events Calendar are each available free of charge.
2014 China Defense & Security Conference a Great Success
The first panel of the day explored Chinese foreign policy under President Xi Jinping. Michael Chase reviewed Xi’s concept of a “New Type of Great Power Relations” and his approach to dealing with the United States. Bonnie Glaser explored China’s strategy for dealing with its Southeast Asian neighbors, as articulated in the October Work Forum on Peripheral Diplomacy. Michael Chase reviewed Xi’s concept of a “New Type of Great Power Relations” and his approach to dealing with the United States. R. Evan Ellis reviewed Chinese engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean.
The second panel focused on military modernization and reform, covering reforms to training and operations and reviewing the leadership’s political strategy for imposing painful changes on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Kenneth Allen reviewed changes to the Chinese military’s recruitment and training of aviators, while Kevin McCauley talked about the PLA’s vision of itself as a future military capable of joint command and operations. Timothy Heath discussed the role of the Communist Party leadership in planning and implementing military change, offering a model of bureaucratic restructuring with Chinese characteristics. Dennis Blasko discussed a move to winter training that aims to reduce the lag time between the induction of new recruits and their achieving operational readiness, making the PLA a 365-day-a-year military.
The third panel covered China’s strategy for the “network domain,” exploring how China both understands and uses computer networks as an element of strategic practice. Joe McReynolds described the role of networks in Chinese strategic thinking, covering differences between the Chinese concept of the network domain and the American concepts of cyber-war and cyber-security. Peter Mattis talked about the role of cyber-surveillance in Chinese intelligence and decision-making. Leigh Ann Ragland offered a biographical sketch of the “father of Chinese network defense,” beginning with China’s first experience of hacking and covering China’s troubled efforts to produce cyber-defense policies. Russell Hsiao examined the experience of Taiwan, a case study and a leading indicator of new Chinese cyber-attacks.
The final panel of the day looked at China’s territorial disputes. Andrew Chubb examined the role of popular nationalism, using unpublished poll data to question the assumption that Chinese behavior is driven by public opinion and questioning the role of state propaganda in molding popular opinion. Alexander Huang discussed Chinese strategy for dealing with the East China Sea, and the role of Taiwan.
Jamestown board member Admiral Timothy Keating (USN, Ret.) closed the conference with an informal exercise to illustrate the potential for crisis as Chinese and U.S. ships operate in close proximity in the South China Sea and the difficulties of communication between very differently structured military and political hierarchies. Citing his own experience in the Pentagon on 9/11, Admiral Keating argued that it was important not to assume worst-cased scenarios when faced with potential conflict. A video of the exercise is available on YouTube.
Jamestown Analyst Looks to the Future of Syria
The Syrian Civil War will continue into the foreseeable future. Armed opposition coalitions, prominently the Islamic Front, will continue to exist but will have difficulty coordinating a unified, multi-governorate strategy to confront the al-Assad government. The Free Syrian Army (FSA) will seek to utilize the southern Syrian governorates of Dara’a and al-Quneitra as territorial bases from which to build its most successful area of operations in the country. The FSA will also attempt to attract foreign military assistance, potentially from Saudi Arabia and Jordan, in order to force the Syrian military out of these two areas and advance on the southern suburbs of Damascus. Militant Salafist opposition organizations, most prominently Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya and the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, will continue to demonstrate and develop close ideological and operational ties with one another to the point of being virtually indistinguishable movements. They will likely seek tacit reconciliation with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). ISIS will continue to seek to consolidate its hold over territory in Raqqa, Aleppo, al-Hasakah, and Deir ez Zor governorates and to build social ties with local Sunni Arab tribes, many of which will pragmatically and ideologically support ISIS given that the organization is the most powerful actor in their areas.
The al-Assad government will continue to consolidate its control over the western governorates of Lattakia, Tartus and Homs in order to secure lines of supply and communication between these areas and Damascus, Idlib and Aleppo governorates where regime forces are advancing. Syrian military planners are expected to utilize locally-organized, government-armed militias under the National Defense Forces (NDF) structure to provide it with essential support against the armed opposition. The Syrian government will also aggressively utilize Reconciliation Committees to bring defecting fighters and groups from the armed opposition, tired of fighting and the deprivation caused by the war, back under state authority in exchange for questionable government guarantees of safety for the former armed opposition fighters and their families. Syrian Kurds, politically dominated by the PKK-influenced Democratic Union Party (PYD), will continue their attempts to build an autonomous, regional government out of the disconnected Kurdish-majority areas of Afrin, Kobane and Cizre in the Aleppo, Raqqa and al-Hasakah governorates respectively.
Nicholas A. Heras is an independent analyst and consultant on Middle East issues and a former David L. Boren Fellow.
Jamestown President Glen Howard in Baghdad for Counter-Terrorism Conference
Jamestown Foundation President Glen E. Howard traveled to Baghdad, Iraq from March 12 to 13 to participate in the first-ever International Terrorism Forum organized by the al-Nahrain Center for Strategic Studies. The Forum was the first high-level terrorism conference to be held in the Iraqi capital and involved over 100 foreign participants and two dozen speakers who traveled to Iraq from Europe, the Middle East and the United States. The keynote speaker for the two-day conference was Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as well as 14 senior-level foreign dignitaries, including U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk. The two-day conference examined the state of terrorism in Iraq and the Iraqi government’s struggle with the primary offshoot of al-Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).
Jamestown Welcomes New GTA Program Associate
The Jamestown Foundation welcomes Kathryn Basinsky as the new Program Associate and Events Coordinator under the Global Terrorism Analysis program. She comes to Jamestown from the Atlantic Council where she worked on the Energy and Economic Summit. She earned her M.A. at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. The outgoing Program Associate, Caitlin Buckley, is now working as the Director of Community Relations at Hearts and Homes for Youth. Jamestown is grateful for her contributions to the organization and wishes her the very best in her new position.
Conflict Zones: North Caucasus and Western Balkans Compared by Janusz Bugajski
The Jamestown Foundation is proud to announce the release of Janusz Bugajski’s landmark study of the increasingly unstable North Caucasus. Comparing the region to the war-ravaged Western Balkans of the 1990s, Mr. Bugajski argues that the North Caucasus are poised to inherit the status as the “powder keg” of Europe. In addition to reviewing the region’s recent history and making forecasts for the future, Mr. Bugajski offers suggestions and proposals for a more active approach by Western governments to defuse conflicts in the region.
**Conflict Zones is available for free on our website! To download your copy, please click here**
Janusz Bugajski is a foreign policy analyst based in the United States. His positions include non-resident Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and host of the television show “Bugajski Hour,” broadcast in the Balkans. Bugajski is the author of 18 books on Europe, Russia, and trans-Atlantic relations and is a regular contributor to various U.S. and European publications.
The Crimea: Europe’s Next Flashpoint?
In light of the recent events in Crimea, The Jamestown Foundation has decided to re-release its November 2010 Occasional Report: The Crimea; Europe’s Next Flashpoint. Authored by the noted Ukrainian security expert Taras Kuzio, the report was four years ahead of its time and predicted that Russia and Ukraine would one day be locked again in a struggle over the strategic peninsula. As the report noted back in 2010, Russia has always had a difficult time reconciling itself to accepting Ukraine as an independent state and a country. It had an even more impossible time recognizing Ukraine’s sovereignty over Crimea and the port of Sevastopol. The report remains a unique in-depth analysis of Russian-Ukraine relations and retraces the steps of Russian leaders and politicians from the 1990s to November 2010 and Moscow’s quest to regain control of Crimea.
The Jamestown Foundation is an independent, nonpartisan organization supported by tax-deductible contributions from corporations, foundations and individuals.
We provide our supporters with a unique array of specialized publications and research, regarded throughout the world as indispensable sources of information and insight by government officials, the academic community, journalists and businessmen.
If you find our information and analysis useful, please do your part and make a contribution now. Both general support and program contributions are welcome. Donations from individuals like you are essential to our continued operations. You can make a tax-deductible donation by using your Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express.
If you would like to become a Friend of the Jamestown Foundation, please click here. Membership includes four free books and four free occasional reports.
Donate by Credit Card
You can also make a credit card contributions by calling (202) 483-8888.